June 20, 2024 #1 Local News, Forum, Information and Event Source for Venice Beach, California.

Developer Sentenced to 4 Years in Federal Prison for Offering a Million-Dollar Bribe to Secure a $45 Million LA County Lease

Arman Gabaee sentenced to 48 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $1.1 million fine

A real estate developer was sentenced recently to four years in federal prison for offering to buy a million-dollar home for a Los Angeles County public official in exchange for the official’s assistance securing a $45 million county lease for the developer.

Arman Gabaee, 61 of Beverly Hills, was sentenced December 15 by United States District Judge George H. Wu, who also ordered him to pay a fine of $1,149,000. Gabaee had previously pleaded guilty on May 2 to one count of bribery.

“This defendant gamed the system during a seven-year bribery spree designed to expand his real estate empire,” said United States Attorney Martin Estrada. “The scheme culminated in a massive million-dollar bribe that was motivated by Mr. Gabaee’s immense greed. By facilitating this pay-to-play system, Mr. Gabaee undermined confidence in the integrity and fairness of our public institutions.”

Gabaee was a co-founder and co-managing partner of the Charles Company, a Hollywood-based commercial and residential real estate development firm. The then-county employee whom Gabaee bribed was Thomas J. Shepos, 72, of Palmdale, a upper-level official in Los Angeles County’s Real Estate Division involved in awarding contracts to real estate developers.

According to prosecutors, in the years leading up to his million-dollar bribe offer, from approximately 2010 to April 2017, Gabaee paid Shepos bribes and kickbacks of approximately $1,000 every month in exchange for county leases, preferential contract terms, non-public information and other benefits. Shepos began cooperating with the FBI in December 2016. From then until April 2017, Gabaee paid Shepos $6,000 in cash bribes during recorded meetings in cars, restaurants and men’s restrooms, prosecutors said.

After years of paying cash bribes, Gabaee in 2016 “sought to further exploit the corrupt arrangement, this time soliciting Shepos’s help obtaining a $45 million county lease for his Hawthorne Mall property – a lease he believed would increase the value of his property ten-fold,” prosecutors said in sentencing papers. In recordings, Gabaee offered to buy Shepos a million-dollar home in exchange for his assistance securing a 10-year, $45 million county lease for office space in the Hawthorne Mall, which Gabaee owned and was redeveloping. Gabaee admitted in his plea agreement to placing two offers on a Northern California home, first for $1,035,000 and later for $1,065,000, as a bribe for Shepos in exchange for the $45 million lease.

“Wiretap calls showed that with a long-term, reliable tenant like the county anchoring the mall, Gabaee believed he could get bank loans to redevelop the property, attract other tenants, and ultimately increase the mall’s assessed value from $17 million to $500 million,” prosecutors said. 

With the county lease, Gabaee was considering selling the mall to capitalize on its increased value, wiretap calls showed.

Shepos pleaded guilty in November 2018 to one count of making false statements to federal investigators who were investigating his financial relationship with Gabaee and one count of subscribing to a false tax return related to payments he received from Gabaee. Shepos is scheduled to be sentenced on January 19, 2023.

in News
Related Posts

Venice Shorts: Cleanup at Third & Rose

June 18, 2024

June 18, 2024

Residents Were Pleased by the Cleanup That Took Place on Thursday By Nick Antonicello A major cleanup occurred on Thursday...

Abbot Kinney Is Getting a New Training Apparel Store

June 18, 2024

June 18, 2024

Items Available in the Store Are Set to Include the Aerosilver Established Tee and the Tetra-Lite Cargo High Rib Jogger...

Texas Man Sentenced to 33 Months for Threatening U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters

June 18, 2024

June 18, 2024

Gaherty Targeted the Congresswoman With Racist and Violent Threats  A Texas man was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison...

Tech Entrepreneur and Developer Company Buy Promenade Shops for $103M: Report

June 18, 2024

June 18, 2024

Acquisitions Include 1202, 1222, 1225, 1232, 1339, and 1344 Third Street Promenade Federal Realty Investment Trust has sold eight parcels...

Venice Shorts: RV Encampment Now Dominates Sidewalk on South Venice

June 17, 2024

June 17, 2024

Tables, Motorcycles, Bed Mattress and Other Household Items Populate Pedestrian Passage By Nick Antonicello This ever growing encampment was previously...

Baby Blues BBQ Reopens in Venice Nearly Two Years After Devastating Fire

June 17, 2024

June 17, 2024

The Eatery Has Been Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives, and the Food Network By Zach Armstrong Almost two years...

Slain Jameson’s Pub Manager Described as a “Provider and Father Figure” by Loved Ones

June 17, 2024

June 17, 2024

His Last Days Were Spent Taking His Niece and Nephew Out for Ice Cream By Zach Armstrong  Family members, friends...

Brand New, Six-Bed Palisades Mansion Hits Market at $34M

June 17, 2024

June 17, 2024

The lower level boasts a bar, lounge, wine tasting room, home theater, and a full spa with a gym A...

Venice Shorts: Owner of Mitchell’s Market Passes Away, Store Seemingly Closes

June 16, 2024

June 16, 2024

Fate of the longtime liquor store and grocer now in doubt By Nick Antonicello  A retail favorite by locals that...

Michelin-Starred Chef James Kent Passes Away, Saga Hospitality Group Announces

June 16, 2024

June 16, 2024

Chef Kent Is Remembered for His Culinary Excellence and Charity Work The Saga Hospitality Group announced the death of Michelin-starred...

Marina del Rey Sportfishing: A Great Day on the Water

June 14, 2024

June 14, 2024

Fishing is a pastime like no other. You can experience the nostalgia of that pastime in real time at Marina...

Fatal Altercation Outside Santa Monica Pub Leads to Homicide Charge

June 14, 2024

June 14, 2024

Venice Resident Charged in Death of Jameson’s Pub Manager A man has been charged with homicide following a fatal altercation...

Venice Shorts: Hundreds Remember Sarah Alden Thursday Evening at the Canals

June 14, 2024

June 14, 2024

A tearful and somber crowd assembles to memorialize the slain vintage jewelry collector  By Nick Antonicello  Sarah Alden, who was...

Oakwood Park to Host “Juneteenth and Community Day” This Weekend

June 13, 2024

June 13, 2024

The Day-Long Celebration Will Feature Free Food, Live Music, Face Painting, a Kids Fun Area and a Taco Truck By...

Former HR Chief of Santa Monica Accuses City of Racial Discrimination

June 13, 2024

June 13, 2024

She Was Selected in 2018 as the First African American to Hold That Position Within City Leadership, According to the...